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An annual spring social gathering in our road about recycling and exchanging household stuff, plant cuttings, and meeting the neighbours over a mug of coffee and home-made cake was sadly impossible in its usual form this year while observing guidelines for social distancing.  So alternative ways to share and promote community spirit were proposed by the tireless organisers, encouraging all to contribute in other ways, with people posting up poems and images for passing residents to enjoy, and a moment to come onto the street to greet each other from a suitable distance.  I devised a topically themed physically distanced Scottish country dance which we could participate in without breaking the rules – and much entertainment and amusement was had by those who wholeheartedly joined in or watched.  Accompaniment on the bagpipes from husband Peter was a medley including “Cock of the North”. Feel free to use the instructions below in your own street…

 

Following last week’s experiment I will be teaching Kitchen Class by Zoom on Monday 27th April 5.30pm till 7.00pm. The plan is that this Monday open class of approximately Intermediate level will continue on a regular basis until early June; and as necessary from then onwards. In order to cover costs I would like to request that those attending each class make a suggested donation of £5.00.
A big thank you to those who attended last week for your very helpful feedback; I hope that lessons learned from this will help the class to run more smoothly and give you all a better experience. Getting the best from this medium is a work in progress…
If you would like to attend, please drop me an email soonest and I will send you an invitation and payment details. If you are worrying about being able to pay please let me know.
Looking forward to meeting up for class tomorrow,
Take care and stay safe!
Susie

I am taking the plunge – and will be teaching class live online from my kitchen via Webex on Monday 20th April at 5.00pm. This will be an approximately intermediate level class, with options to do simpler or more complex versions of the enchainements and to accommodate your particular environment, and will probably last 1 hour 15-30 minutes.
This is new territory for me. There will therefore be no charge for this class, but I would really appreciate feedback afterwards on how it works for you. I hope that I can continue to offer this on a regular basis while we are all locked down, and there would in future be a nominal charge.
If you would like to join Kitchen Class please contact me at susiecrow@gmail.com and I will send an invitation with a link…

I will be continuing to post an Enchainement of the day as regularly as possible on YouTube for those that prefer to work in their own time and at their own pace. You can find all those posted so far on the Ballet in Small Spaces YouTube channel here.

Taking this opportunity also to flag up Ségolène Tarte’s tremendously helpful blog post on her Dancing Convolutions blog here about doing classes at home; not only providing wise advice about safe practice, but also a great list of tried and tested suggestions for classes in different styles and formats:

I can completely endorse her recommendation of the lovely warm-up she found by dancers from the Slovenian National Theatre, accessible to all, just follow along here and enjoy, an uplifting way to start the day…

See you in class…

Susie

I hope that you are coping with the continuing lockdown, and despite this able to enjoy the spring weather a bit.
Ballet in Small Spaces has been searching for online ways to help people keep their ballet practice alive in the smallest of spaces. Some have already checked out my series of Enchainement of the day Instagram posts at susiecrowbiss. As there appears to be a restriction of 60 seconds now on videos on Instagram, I have taken the decision to transfer this to YouTube. You can now find the continuing series on the Ballet in Small Spaces YouTube channel here:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbAJIO9c-u4DZ2vCcwi6h6w

I will continue to post announcements on Instagram as further material goes up.  The idea is to provide barre work and centre work enchainments for you to work on in your own time and at your own pace.  Please do subscribe and post any questions or comments; we are all learning here, and I would welcome your feedback…

Susie

 

I hope you are keeping well, and despite the current extraordinary and restrictive circumstances are at least able to enjoy something of the beautiful spring sunshine… Here are some suggestions to mitigate the current lack of dance activities, which have had to close down to maintain social distancing and combat the spread of Covid 19.

In these extraordinary times Oxford Dance Writers plans to keep going on a regular basis, despite the lack of performances and events to flag up and review.  As we all seek for ways to keep dancing practice alive at home, as well as other content ODW hopes to provide a place where those of us that love dance can find out more about, and discuss, the vast array of training material available online. Check out Sonia Tycko’s useful starter guide and suggestions here

As a contribution to this cornucopia, I have finally joined Instagram, where I am posting short enchainments on a daily basis from my kitchen; look for the Enchainement of the day at susiecrowbiss

Do consider posting a comment on Oxford Dance Writers in response to what you read there; ODW would welcome your thoughts and recommendations, however brief. If you are interested in writing a more substantial piece about the dance that you see online, either performances, dance videos and films, or training resources, please email susiecrow@gmail.com.

Take care and stay safe,

Susie

It is with a very heavy heart that I write to let you know that all BiSS ballet classes at the URC are suspended as from Thursday 19th March. In the light of all that is going on, and aware that quite a number of class members are already taking sensible precautionary action to self isolate, it seems the safest and most responsible thing to do. This suspension will continue till the end of April; I will of course post any developments or changes to that date.

Meanwhile I will be looking into ways to keep in touch online and via social media, so that those that wish may be able to keep up some useful and enjoyable practice even while isolated at home, as many dancers internationally are already beginning to do. For starters I am very grateful to Sonia Tycko who sent this article with cheery clip which may give you a few ideas about what is possible even if in a limited space…

Planning to post more on this blog, so watch this space…
Take care and keep safe!
My very best wishes to you all,
Susie

There are numerous links embedded in this piece; scroll your cursor over the text to find out more…

A year ago I didn’t manage to write a review of 2018; which had ended momentously with the wonderful winter wedding just before Christmas of my daughter Joanna and her man Dan.  A very happy occasion with much laughter and song; and the talents of dear dancer friends from Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet days were visible in the bride’s beautiful dress from Ritva Westenius, now headed by Chenca Williams, and gorgeous floral arrangements by Covent Garden’s go-to florist Bloomsbury Flowers run by Stephen Wicks and Mark Welford.

Building up to this special family event had shaped a year otherwise spent in regular teaching but also academic activity; beginning in January with a lecture for the History of Performance Course devised by the admirable Jane Pritchard, Curator of Dance at the Victoria and Albert Museum which houses the former Theatre Museum collections. ‘Dancers, audiences and spaces: reflections from practice’ had been originally presented at a Dance and Academia event in Oxford programmed by Miranda Laurence.  It drew on my own experience as a dancer in considering different spaces for dance and their effects on the relationship between performer and audience.  In April the more theoretical side of my doctoral research had its first outing in a paper ‘The ballet class: oral tradition and embodied learning’ at the Society for Dance Research’s conference evocatively titled ‘Dance in the Age of Forgetfulness’. Read More

A special treat for those doing classes at URC on Saturdays this term.  Hannah Quinn is currently the Ivor Guest Trainee Pianist at the Royal Ballet, and as part of this programme she is getting additional experience playing for BiSS Saturday ballet classes.  This is proving a real treat, a wonderful opportunity to enjoy dancing with a live musician rather than recorded music, and to experience the instantaneous collaboration and enhanced listening that this cultivates in dancers.  See below for a biography of Hannah.

Hannah Quinn

 

British Pianist Hannah Quinn graduated with Distinction from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland with an MMus in Repetiteurship. During her studies she was awarded the Leonard Hancock Memorial Prize and the James H. Geddes repetiteur prize. Hannah is an alumnus of the National Opera Studio.

Hannah has had extensive experience in the operatic world, but after discovering ballet through a couple of freelance contracts, has fallen in love with the classical dance form and has taken active steps to pursue it. Hannah is absolutely delighted to be training at the Royal Ballet this season and is fully committed to making the most of this excellent opportunity in order to gain the skills required of a ballet pianist.

Hannah has worked on Rachmaninov’s Symphonic Dances as it was being devised as a new piece by Liam Scarlett. She has also played for Wayne McGregor in his new commission Obsidian Tear, set to the music of Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Nyx. Hannah has also worked with singers and dancers together in Javier Dr Frutos’ Les Enfants Terribles by Philip Glass. She is currently working on Kenneth MacMillan’s Concerto, The Sleeping Beauty and Coppelia.

In the operatic world, Hannah has worked as a repetiteur at English National Opera, British Youth Opera, Scottish Opera and English Touring Opera where she was Head of Music Staff for two seasons.

Hannah has also performed as a song recital accompanist in the UK and abroad. She has a varied interest in repertoire spanning German Lied, French Melodie and contemporary music.

Hannah is also a trained conductor and has performed with Southbank Sinfonia, Trinity Orchestra, Tianjin Philharmonic, Hampstead Garden Opera and English Touring Opera.

A happy memory of a highly enjoyable class with guest teacher Brian Bertscher.  The two hours began with a thoroughly warming barre, starting slowly and building in speed, with challenging balances and precision.  In the centre port de bras and adage explored épaulé lines, followed by pirouettes with luxurious balancés, bouncing petit allegro combinations and an exhilarating Prokofiev waltz to finish.  Brian communicated both rigour and infectious enthusiasm.  Hopefully to be repeated before long…

Brian Bertscher with Susie Crow and URC class members 3rd August 2019

Regular ballet classes at URC finish this Saturday 27th August for a summer break, however for one additional day I am delighted to welcome as special guest teacher my old colleague the irrepressible and inspiring Brian Bertscher.  Brian will be teaching an extended intermediate/advanced class on Saturday 3rd August from 11.00am to 1.00pm; expect lots of joyous dancing.  This 2 hour class will cost £15.  Not to be missed!

A brief biography:BB Teaching at Folkwang (2010)

Brian Bertscher started ballet classes at the age of seven in Johannesburg South Africa and joined the Royal Ballet School London at the age of seventeen.  While there he also studied Cecchetti ballet and received the Advanced Exam certificate.

Between 1964 to 1979 Brian danced with the Royal Ballet and was a popular soloist with the Sadlers Wells Royal Ballet.  His roles included Puck in Ashton’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and the virtuosic Blue Boy in Les Patineurs.  He also excelled in ballets by John Cranko playing Jasper the Potboy in Pineapple Poll, and Little Clown (Bootface) in The Lady and the Fool.

1979-1980 Brian studied on the Professional Teachers Training Course at the Royal Academy London.  From 1980-2010 he was Professor of Classical Ballet at the Folkwang University of the Arts in Essen, Germany, and has taught internationally for ballet schools and companies.  Since 2010 Brian has been living and working in London, currently teaching regular classes at Morley College.

Find out more about Brian’s life and work here: https://brianbertscher.com/

Find full address details for the URC (Summertown United Reformed Church Hall) on the Classes page of this blog.